Training Courses

There are two training courses available in the Yukon. Both take place immediately before the MYAU. This offers you the opportunity to do a course and the race on one trip. Other advantages of participating in a course in the Yukon are:

  • you give yourself some time for acclimatisation
  • for the outdoor parts of the course you are on the same or same type of trails you will be on during the MYAU
  • the courses are organised by people with substantial race and Yukon specific winter survival skills

If time and budget allow for it you can of course also do a course one winter and then come back to do the MYAU the next winter.

Both courses aim at teaching you the skills to become confident and proficient at working in cold temperatures allowing you to maximise your potential in the MYAU or similar events and expeditions.

Overview “Survive to Race” – by Stewart Stirling

This course will be run with a maximum of 14 people and is geared towards those entering or intending to enter the MYAU. However, it is also open to anybody doing other winter ultra events or expeditions as the skills of course are not just required for the MYAU.

Time: January 31st – February 4th, 2021

With a maximum group size of 14, there are three instructors who are all experienced veterans of the race and living in the cold. The course director, Stewart is an expedition leader and mountain guide with seven winters in the Yukon behind him.
This residential course lasts four and half days with all transfers, food and accommodation provided. Situated right on the race trail at Braeburn Lake, close to the 100 mile finish, participants will spend a great deal of time out on the trail acclimatising and practicing essential race survival skills. Some lessons will be classroom based and others will be in the outdoors.

It is an opportunity to hone your skills and learn useful information from those around you which will enable you to complete the race safely and successfully. The course will not be overly physically demanding as it focusses on skills and knowledge building rather than physical fitness. Once you have signed up for the race you will get pre-race advice and information to enable you to prepare before you arrive.

The main topics to be covered in the four days will be:

  • Equipment, clothing, footwear and outerwear – Layering for “dry cold”, finding out what works for you in the Yukon, how much to carry and find out what you don’t need
  • Shelter, bivy, tent or tarp and a chance to become familiar with, and adapt, your own shelter for maximum warmth
  • Nutrition – Effects of cold on calorific intake, hydration, how to plan your food
  • Cold weather first aid and hygiene – Recognising cold injuries, prevention of immersion foot, frostbite and hypothermia, what to include in a first aid kit
  • Sled/pulk and harness set up – Become acquainted with your pulk and harness, correct fitting of harness and alternative set ups
  • Operating in extreme temperatures -General awareness of cold conditions, how they affect your body, tips on reducing cold effects, melting snow, coping with cold and wet conditions, body temperature and vapour management.
  • Stoves and cooking – Introduction to the Primus stove, other stoves, lighting and maintenance, use of stove boards
  • Emergency shelter construction and fire lighting – Simple emergency shelters, simple fire starting techniques
  • Race plan/tactics – how to plan your race

Accommodation is at Braeburn Lake in a semi wilderness setting along the trail used in the MYAU. Accommodation will either be in traditional log cabins or heated wall tents. Camp life will not be luxurious with the maximum amount of time spent outside as possible.

For more details, information on cost and booking of the course please go to www.surivetorace.com.

Overview “MYAU Pre-Race Workshop” – by Shelley Gellatly

This course is facilitated by Shelley Gellatly, Jessie Thomson-Gladish, Marianne Heading and Gillian Smith, all of whom have finished the race several times. Past workshop participants who are returning to the race in 2021, will be participating as well, on the private facebook group.

Time: January 31st – February 4th, 2021

As aspiring MYAU racers, you can take this opportunity to learn and benefit from the hard won knowledge of MYAU race veterans. This includes receiving detailed notes about the trail and checkpoints that can help you plan your race strategy as well as pre-race online discussions.

Race preparation starts well before you arrive in Whitehorse! And as such, so does this workshop.

Participants will have access to a private facebook group where workshop facilitators will share ideas on various race topics, along with answering questions as they arise.

The 4.5 day workshop will take place at the Takhini Hot Springs Hostel, about a 35 min. drive from downtown Whitehorse. Accommodation is shared (2 people per room).

Food, transfers, accommodation, detailed trail notes, map review, gear check and advice are provided.

The workshop is limited to 10 participants total.

Deadline for registration: November 15th, 2020.

Workshop Fee: $1,250 CDN (includes GST)

Assistance with training programs available.

This is what’s included in the full 4.5 day training program:

  • Transport from Whitehorse to Takhini Hotsprings Hostel
  • Accommodation at Takhini Hotsprings Hostel (2 people per room)
  • Meals (participants will need to bring snacks for the trail and two trail meals)
  • Information sessions as outlined below
  • Gear check and recommendations
  • Day and night hikes with fully loaded sled including opportunities to light stove, make a wood fire, bivy, melt water and cook
  • Daily access to Takhini Hotsprings
  • Visit to Muktuk Kennels (1st checkpoint) and walk along the MYAU route
  • Advice from race veterans/volunteers on what has worked and not worked for themselves and others in the past

For more information on the training course please click here to download a word document or got to www.yukonultraworkshop.com. Your email contact is Shelley at sgellatly@shaw.ca.